Friday, March 26, 2010

The weekend is here!

Yay! And we're actually getting some beautiful weather tomorrow; at least that's what everyone is saying! It's supposed to be 70 degrees and absolutely lovely.

I'm starting the day early at a yard sale over near Greystone that's supposed to be rockin. Then I'll be back to get the fam and we're going to head to our favorite breakfast joint. We may head over to the amphitheater in Helena to participate in the egg hunt and meet the Easter Bunny; it just depends on how everyone is feeling. And after that, my nephew Brooks has a baseball game at Herdmont Park. He is 5 years old and plays little league for the Cardinals. I can't wait to watch him play!

Then tomorrow night we are celebrating my brother's 26th birthday at P.F. Changs with the fam. Yum. O.

Should be a fun weekend. Sunny with a chance of pictures. LOTS of pictures. Oh yes.




Haircut.

Mark it down. I am getting my hair cut today.

Nothing drastic, just a trim and a good shape-up. It's LONG.

Like, Duggar family long.

All I need is a long denim skirt, a tucked-in polo and some Keds and I'd fit right in with the whole clan.




Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A little bummed.

I am 29 weeks pregnant and I went for my diabetes test the other day. I was sure I'd pass this time (although I knew my chances were super slim); I've been exercising every morning and I weigh about 8 pounds less than I did at this point in my last pregnancy. I even tested myself last week; I drank a strawberry Fanta one morning (which has 80g sugar; the stuff they give you only has 50g; an hour after I drank it my blood sugar was 105. So I thought I was definitely in the clear.)

Well boo. I failed. One hour after drinking that sugar soda, my blood sugar was 126.

The cut-off point is 140... normally.

But if you've had gestational diabetes BEFORE, apparently the cut-off point is 125.

ONE. POINT.

Are you kidding me?!?!

I still don't know for sure if I really have it; I have to go back for the 3-hour test to be 100% sure. But I am just going to do my 3-hour test at my next regular appointment, which is in 2 weeks! (Yay for every-2-week appointments! Can't believe I'm at this point already!) So I'll find out for sure April 6th. Blah. Until then I'll be exercising and counting carbs. Yuck. But by the time I find out, I'll be 31 weeks and only have 8 weeks to go. No big deal. I just hope he's not a 10-pounder!







Sunday, March 21, 2010

Warm Weekend at the Compound

We headed to the Compound Thursday night, because Chad and my dad wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather that was ahead on Friday! They fished all day and we enjoyed some time at Huntsville's Botanical Gardens, where they were having a tree house expo. My aunt Amanda, her son Charlie, Mary Ella and I met my aunt Vicki, who brought Addie Jane and Jack. The weather was perfect! There were only about a thousand people at the gardens that day, but the kids loved it! They have a children's garden that is perfect for toddlers. Lots of rocks, water, sand and different little activities. I'm pretty sure my daughter will be working for a landscaping company when she grows up, because she has a deep affection for mulch, gravel, mud and pine straw...

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By the way, I would highly recommend Crocs if you decide to take a trip to the gardens. There is lots of water and mud! (She was actually in her white Keds when we left the house, but we stopped at Target for snacks and I saw these in the kids department. I'm so glad I decided to get them!) I would also recommend a change of clothes!

crocs

The kids were perfect and had so much fun playing and getting to run free! I was able to capture some pretty sweet moments. Here are a few of my favorites...

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flower child
addie2
pond


We didn't realize how much sun we'd gotten until we got back home and took showers. Mary Ella's cheeks were so red! I didn't even think about taking any sunscreen. Thankfully they didn't blister or anything and she never acted like they were bothering her. When we got back to my parents' house I let her run around the farm as the sun set.

running
sunset face
wheat


Then when we came inside, I couldn't help but notice how cool Mom's kitchen looked with the sun coming through the window. If you think MY house has lots of color, check out Mom's lime green kitchen cabinets! I love this...
moms kitchen


Chad and Dad finally made it back from fishing around 7:30pm and thankfully didn't catch anything worthy of cooking (ha...). So we ate steaks, baked potatoes and salad. Then we went to bed, of course, because we were exhausted! I think I had walked about 8 miles total on Friday and I was for sure feeling it by the end of the day.
My Grandaddy had offered to cook us all breakfast on Saturday morning, and so when we finally rolled out of bed at 9:30 we walked over to the shop (where my Grandaddy builds things) to greet him. Mary Ella wore her crocs again. She loves them.
pj girl

He was working on a new wooden swing for Mary Ella and told her exactly where he was going to hang it. She was so excited when she learned it would be ready by that afternoon. And if you know my Grandaddy, you know this is nothing out of the ordinary for him. He is the most selfless man I have ever known; he prays for us by name every morning and he tells me he's thankful for me everytime he sees me. I love him so much.
pointing
ike kisses

He led us inside the house and decided he'd give Mary Ella, my sister and me a lesson on how to make the best biscuits ever. He's made his biscuits for us ever since I was a little baby, and although I knew they weren't canned or made from Bisquick, I had never actually learned the exact recipe. I'm glad I did, because it's a lot simpler than I thought it would be! There are just a few ingredients...

1. Buttermilk
buttermilk

2. Flour
biscuits

3. Crisco
crisco

Now, as for how much of each, that I can't really tell you. Not because it's a secret, but because he didn't really tell us. I do know he used 4 cups of flour, because I actually paid attention to that part. And he used about this much Crisco...
crisco hunk

I'd say that's about a half-handful. He mixed the flour and Crisco until it felt like all the flour was just a little bit "greased." Then he added enough buttermilk to make a thick, sticky batter.
watching ike

And of course, he had a little helper.
i can stir 2

He used the grease from these sausage patties, which were sizzling away...
sausage and grease

...to grease his cast iron skillets, which he says are a MUST in making the best biscuits ever. (He also says the grease is a MUST. But if you don't have it, just use PAM. And don't tell him I told you that!)
grease it good

Then you just plop your biscuit batter onto your skillet.
biscuits
biscuit drops

And you bake them at 450 degrees. I asked him how long, and he said "Til they're done, of course!" So I'd guess maybe 20 minutes or so.

Next, it was on to the scrambled eggs, and Grandaddy was patient enough to teach Mary Ella how to crack eggs. First, she just watched.
how to crack an egg

She got the "cracking" part pretty quickly...
crack it

But didn't quite understand that the whole egg didn't go into the bowl. Ooops!
eggshell

Finally, after a little hands-on coaching and an entire carton of eggs...
eggs

She did it! All by herself! I was so proud.
crack an egg

So was Aunt Betsy, who hates egg shells in her scrambled eggs.
betsykisses


After a hearty breakfast, it was time to put on our bandanas and eat an apple, of course.
apple eater 7

Then we went outside and got to work. There were leaves that needed to be raked!
crocs and rake

And dogs that needed to be fed! (Can you count the dogs in this picture? Yes, they all belong to my family.)
dogfind
(There are actually 5 dogs in the picture. Did you find them all?)

We played outside some more, then changed clothes, then Mary Ella went and played at Charlie's house until the afternoon. Finally she was able to swing on her brand new swing, which Grandaddy hung on our favorite tree right outside the red barn.
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swing

We had such an incredible weekend, and I loved soaking up some warm weather! Now we're back at home and it has rained all day and it's currently 40-something degrees! What's up with these crazy temperatures? Here's hoping to some more sunshine!

Hope everyone has a blessed week!




Wednesday, March 17, 2010

McWane Center and Mommy Musings...

Dora was at the McWane Center so we decided to pay her a visit. We arrived around 1pm and since Dora wasn't going to make her grand appearance until 2pm we decided to enjoy the other floors first. Mary Ella loved the aquarium, the water table and especially the big piano. She also loved the Itty Bitty Magic City, which is a kid play area full of pretend things like a grocery store, putt-putt course, cars to "drive," and fun tunnels and slides. When it was finally time to see Dora we realized the line was incredibly long. I thought about just letting her see Dora from a distance then leaving, but as soon as she laid eyes on her she was determined to give her a hug. "Hug! Hug" she kept saying over and over. So we go to the end of the line and had to wait about 45 minutes; my child did NOT like waiting in line and could not understand why I wouldn't put her down. ( I prefer not to take a stroller to this place; since she walks now it's better just to follow her around.) So yes, I had to HOLD my child for 45 minutes. Which wouldn't be such a big deal if she weren't 27 lbs and if I weren't 7 months pregnant. Needless to say I was hot and tired and embarassed because she CRIED the entire time we were in line! It was horrible. I am sure all the other parents thought I was forcing my child to have her picture made with this cartoon character, but that wasn't the case at al! She WANTED to see Dora; she just didn't want to stand in line! But finally we made it to the front and she was happy as a lark. She crawled right up onto the park bench with Dora and said, "Hi, Dora! Hi Boots! Swiper??" and proceeded to look around for the sly fox. He was nowhere to be found. All of the museum employees were laughing at her. She went from being so upset to being the happiest child there in a matter of seconds. I was proud of her for not backing out at the last minute. And I was proud of myself for not losing my patience with her and embarassing her in line by spanking her or reprimanding her. I just tried to comfort her and tell her that we'd be seeing Dora soon enough and that it would be so much fun.
I have to attribute my patience to something I read a couple nights ago on a blog that most of you have probably been reading - the Layla Grace blog. I have known about the blog and the general situation for a while - it's been all over FaceBook and Twitter and many celebrities have even gotten involved in supporting this family in their journey with their little girl and her battle with cancer. I had refused to let myself read it (because I knew I would just cry all the time, and because she was so close to Mary Ella's age when she was diagnosed.) But for those that don't know her situation you can go here to read their story. Layla Grace was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma (a horribly painful and very aggresive form of cancer) shortly before her 2nd birthday and one week ago she lost the battle and went to be with Jesus. Her parents had to watch her suffer and pass away in their home, and I can't imagine what that was like; I don't want to think about it. But here is something that I read on their blog when I finally decided to read it 2 nights ago. This is an excerpt written by Layla's mom; it is from a few weeks ago, before Layla Grace passed away, and it had a profound impact on me...

"Towards the end of a pregnancy, a mother will wake up to go to the bathroom every few hours. I think this is the body’s way of preparing you for a newborn and the sleepless nights that come along with it. Layla now spends most of her days sleeping. 30-45 minutes after she wakes up, she is ready to lay down and sleep again. Is this God’s way of preparing me for all the quiet time that is coming soon? The house is quiet. I am able to go through the motions of laundry, dishes, cooking and picking up without interruptions. But I WANT interruptions. I WANT Layla to be under my feet asking for cookies. I WANT to hear her playing with her toys. I WANT to take 45 minutes to unload the dishwasher because she keeps trying to help. For every time I uttered the words “I just can’t get anything done with these kids under my feet all day” I am eternally regretful. The days that I looked forward to naptime so I could get a grocery list made, or finally fold all the piles of laundry…I regret those days too. If I could do it all again, I’d enjoy EVERY SINGLE WAKING MOMENT I had with her. I would never wish for her to sit still or take a nap or go to bed early. I would never look forward to the days when she could sit through an entire episode of Dora silently. I would treasure every second with her."

I can't tell you how much I identify with her in a lot of ways... and not ways I am proud of; I catch myself rushing through bath time, through story time, looking forward to nap time so that I can clean my house or make lists or pay bills... and when I read this, it sent chills down my spine. And as I stood in that long line today and heard nothing but the sound of my toddler wailing, for no other reason than that she wasn't getting her way, I felt a strange calm come over me. The calm that, I believe, can only come from the Holy Spirit. I felt a sense of peace and a voice that simply told me to be patient. To love. To comfort her. (Although everything in me wanted to be ugly.) And I thought about Layla Grace's mom, and how she'll never hear her daughter cry or scream or pitch fits anymore, and how she would probably give anything in the world to be in my place at that moment. I just stood there as Mary Ella cried, thinking about them, and tears filled my eyes; I wanted to bury my head in my little girl's curls so that no one would see me.

I haven't been able to quit thinking about Layla Grace and her family, and I am just so thankful that God allowed me to read that post written by her mother, if for no other reason than to remind me again that I am so, so fortunate to have a healthy, thriving, baby girl who is able to run around and play and climb and slide and throw temper tantrums. I want to cherish every single moment with her and soak up all these blessings. We don't know what tomorrow brings. And I don't want to have any regrets.

Hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week and weekend! We are headed to Florence to see my parents. Hopefully Chad will catch a mount-worthy bass when he goes fishing with my Dad on Friday. (No, we will not be adding it to our aquarium; nor will we be mounting it in a highly-trafficked area of my house... ha)




Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two.

I have two new pets.

They are both goldfish.

They were a promise from a certain Daddy to a certain little girl.

They were all this little girl talked about ALL. DAY. LONG. on Saturday. And Sunday. And Monday... well, Monday morning, that is. Because Mommy got a little tired of hearing about it and went to fulfill the promise at Wally World on Monday afternoon.

Their names are Dorothy and Finn. And if they make it to the weekend, I will add pictures.

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I also have two new friends.

They have been my friends for the last 4 months or so, but they were recently promoted to BEST friends.

As in, CANT-LIVE-WITHOUT-YOU-FOR-A-DAY friends.

Their names are Tums and Zantac. And since I have a bit more affection for them than I do the fish, I will proudly display their pictures.







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